Moving with children: Stress or adventure?
Saying that moving is stressful is an understatement. Even the ones that are for happy reasons. I’ve moved eighteen times, and eight of those were with my son. I cannot imagine what my mom went through moving with four girls and a house full of an assortment of pets.
You would think that moving would get easier as my son got older. There are only two things that make moving easier. The first thing that made moving easier was acknowledging that the things adults think aren’t a big deal still cause stress, loss, sadness, and apprehension for some children. Even if the move is for happy reasons some children are going to experience stress. The second thing that has made moving easier was accepting that no matter how organized I was something always got broken.
So how can moving be less stressful for everyone? The good news is there are things you can do to help!
Some children are more susceptible to experiencing stress during a move. If your child suffers from anxiety or needs routine and structure, you should prepare them ahead of time. If your child is an introvert or going through puberty, you should watch for signs of stress having a negative impact on them.
My personal experiences helped me write the chapters in Kaylee’s Adventures and Timothy’s Adventures that deal with moving. Both characters experience very different moves and have their stress and fears dealt with in different ways. Everyone deals with moving differently. But, there are benefits to moving with children, and that is children help adults get out and involved in your community right away!
Prepare for the move!
1) Get then ready
Break the news about the move a month in advance, unless you are selling a house.
Explain that the important things will be the same. (their belongings, the family time)
If it is possible, take them to see their new home, new playground, and new school.
2) Allow their angst
Moving stresses children. They will need your stability to help them process their emotions. Help them find healthy ways to both express them and voice them.
Some children may not have the vocabulary to express their emotions.
3) Walk the walk and talk the talk
Negativity rubs off, try to be positive.
If you are positive about the move, they will sense that everything is going to be okay.
4) Stick to your schedule
Keep family routines as much as possible. This provides stability for everyone.
New moves might not be the best time to introduce your toddler to a new bed!
5) Give them gumption
Give them things to make a choice on. This helps them feel like they have some control over their life.*This is really important!*
6) Expect regression
7) Get to know the neighbors
Provide an opportunity for them to meet new friends.
Talk about different ways they can make new friends. Share ideas and make it fun.
8) Read books where the characters move and deal with it in a healthy positive way!